Our library staff members are chronicling their experiences living through a pandemic. If you keep a daily journal of your experience, consider donating it to Swem’s Special Collections when the crisis has passed.
Name: Gina Woodward
Title: Delivery Service Coordinator
How has your work changed during the pandemic?
A lot! Since the largest part of my job as a Circulation staff member involves managing the W&M Libraries delivery service and getting materials to faculty, staff and students, I feel like a part of me is lost. I miss the flurry of activity that it takes from a request coming in through ALMA or ILLiad, the items getting retrieved from the shelves, processing those items, and then getting them to the people who are awaiting them either in their department mailbox, at another W&M library, or the John D. Rockefeller Library "The Rock" in Colonial Williamsburg. I am fortunate to be able to work with the staff at the other libraries and have formed great working relationships with them as we work together to move materials back and forth between us. I really miss the five delivery students that I supervise. They are a joy to work with and help to make the delivery service run everyday. Four of the students were new in the Fall so we were all beginning to form a great team. It is sad for me to think about the van and the GEM, the new low-speed electric vehicle the library purchased in November, sitting there not being driven around campus and making people happy when they get what they requested. I delivered a book to someone in Discovery 1 in New Town this semester and she was so happy that she said she hoped I had animals that she could care for if I needed it to repay me for bringing her the book! I told her thank you but that I was just doing my job! I feel like I cannot support faculty, staff and students like I normally do and I look forward to being able to do that again when we are all back on campus.
What are your challenges?
I am struggling with getting accustomed to working from home and not feeling productive since so much of my job is process, procedure and task oriented. Since I have always been a public services staff member and enjoy working in that environment, the sudden loss of the face to face interactions all day is hard to adjust to. Also, and my co-workers can attest to, I have challenges with technology, so not being able to just ask someone in person for help is very challenging!
What has surprised you?
The feeling of not quite knowing what to do without my work not being driven from requests coming in and the need to get things out for delivery as quickly as we can. Also, not being mentally prepared for what working from home is really like.
What do you miss most about being in the library?
I miss so much! First of all, my wonderful Circulation co-workers and the constant buzz happening at the Circulation desk and in our department. I miss the physical space of the library and being on the campus, especially now with all the spring flowers and trees blooming. My office and the view out the window. And of course, the delivery students and all of the other Circulation students. Oh, and having lunch with other people!
Anything else you’d like to share:
Looking forward to the day we can all go back to the library and resume the new normal.